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Thread: Tales of the Patriarch I: Outcast

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    Cool Tales of the Patriarch I: Outcast

    Tales of the Patriarch
    Part the First: Outcast

    To live outside the law, you must be honest...
    -Bob Dylan “Absolutely Sweet Marie”



    A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

    (Cue Theme)

    The GALACTIC REPUBLIC has presided over more than 500 years of relative peace.

    But while the citizens of the Core Worlds and Colonies may bask in the glow of safety and prosperity, WAR beckons on the horizon. The OUTER RIM TERRITORIES have been virtually abandoned by all but the most heavily armed Republic Judicial forces, and the galactic government is functionally powerless across a vast swathe of Known Space.

    Closer to home for Coruscant, the CORELLIAN EMPIRE has been making continuous noises of discontent, and some within the Verdant Court whisper the word that chills the heart of the Galactic Senate... Succession.

    All is not lost, either for Coruscani hopes of unity or the woebegone residents of the forgotten Rim. The JEDI ORDER has vowed to mediate the dispute between the Senate and the wayward Founder World, and Jedi Knights have become the only force of central authority still recognized the galaxy over.

    But the warrior mystics cannot be everywhere. Corruption is rampant. So too, is opportunity, for those with the drive, ambition and fortitude to grab hold of it. The Rim is the wild frontier, and any man looking to make his fortune can strike it rich or disappear into the shallow grave of anonymity (quite possibly a literal shallow grave as well).

    Any man looking to get lost... may find the chance to do so...

    Dateline: PRuu 528.5.12, Illiguez, Illez System, Tranch Provisional Sector, Outer Rim Territories

    The punch caught Rodrik completely flatfooted, and the combat glove contacted his skull several centimeters above his right ear just as the door swung shut behind him. His head whiplashed into the wall, where it impacted with the sound of a plastic trash barrel being hit by a sledgehammer. The young human freetrader stumbled even further into the room, then slipped on the duracrete floor, cracking his knee on the turf as he fell.

    “Hands up, nerfherder,” ordered a electronically reconstituted voice. It was menacing, certainly, and by the look of its owner, he meant business, too.

    Stang... Rodrik thought blearily.

    He was staring down the twin barrels of a blaster carbine configured with some sort of underbarrel weapon attachment. It merely served to emphasize the wielder's seriousness.

    Damn... damn... damn!

    Part of him could not help but be impressed-- he was almost 1.8 meters and 90 kilos of ethnic Corellian muscle and bone, but the hunter had waxed him almost effortlessly. Even without the element of surprise, this guy had a right hook like a shockboxer, and Rodrik struggled to regain his feet without toppling back to the floor.

    “Hands where I can see them. Don't think I'm joking,” the hunter said again, louder this time, dropping the muzzle of his weapon and leaning forward for emphasis.
    This shocked Rodrik from his alcohol and concussion-induced reverie.
    “You are under arrest by authority of the Commissioner for Public Order, bounty warrant...” she said, though to the still woozy smuggler, her declamation trailed off into a series of meaningless digits that made his head hurt further.

    One thing was clear... he needed to escape, and fast.

    Fleeing from a bounty hunter is an activity that requires a certain amount of guile, commitment and concentration. A thoughtfully concealed weapon, however, is frequently more useful than anything else.

    It occurred to Rodrik that the surprised look on the bounty hunter's fact was a product more of his own expectations than reality. It was, after all, hard to affect “surprise” on a visored faceplate, menacing design or not.

    Still, he could not shake the feeling that the brawny fellow with the knock-off Mandolorean helmet had been totally shocked when a large-bore holdout blaster appeared in the would-be mark's hand.

    The thought floated through the smuggler's head during the half-second it took for him to center the hunter in his sight picture.

    Rodrik squeezed the trigger.

    His Drearian PZ-9 was a nice piece, with a high-energy beam that could penetrate most body armor at close quarters range. Moreover, the Rodrik's specially overclocked stun setting could bring down an angry bull nerf at ten meters.

    The blue stun shot struck the hunter square on his torso. The olive drab composite chestplate glowed briefly on the impact as its owner was jolted backward into the teal tiles of the nearest wall.

    With a heavy sigh, Rodrik stepped over to the prone figure, sliding the fellow's longarm away with a flick of booted foot. Slipping the bodyglove weave material off the hunter's collar, the young man found a strong pulse.

    Another sigh of relief.

    Blaster still aimed squarely at his near-captor's face, the smuggler eased the helmet off. To his great shock, Rodrik found himself looking at a girl.

    Dusky skin screamed “not local,” and Rodrik put her age at around nineteen. The hunter(ess?) was nearly as tall as he was and athletically built, though her peaceful countenance (minus the lightly bleeding nose from the stunner) gave her face an unnervingly cute pixie-ish look despite her tomboyishly cropped bronze-brown hair.
    Suddenly, the girl's gently upturned nose wrinkled, and she groaned softly, adorably, almost... contentedly.

    Rodrik shot her again.

    A lower powered stun blast, to the armpit gap in the armor. She convulsed once, then stopped stirring. Again, he checked for a pulse, and again found a strong heartbeat.

    “Terribly sorry, love... but can't have you chasing me, can we?” the smuggler muttered apologetically. He did mean it... mostly. Her unaccountably sloppy move to drop the barrel of her rifle whilst attempting to arrest him suggested either she was a rank novice or some level of softness on the whole “killing him for money” scheme. Either way, it wouldn't have been very sporting to kill her in this state.

    Plus... she was sort of cute, in a homicidal girl next door kind of way.

    He noticed her armor was well made, an in-sector copy of a well-regarded Rodian urban combat design. The helmet, which was indeed a knock-off Mandalorian design, was also apparently of good quality. She was either very successful, or had outside funding.

    That thought gave the smuggler some pause. Whomever it was on the growing list of important people who wanted the his hide in the sector had seemed to decide to not muck about.

    Who are you, my dear? thought Rodrik, carefully removing an ID set and a datapad from her utility belt.

    Rodrik gingerly picked up the carbine in a gloved hand, checked to see the setting-- stun, as it happened-- and coughed lowly. It was a customized Loronar DXR3 with some nifty add-ons including the projectile launcher attached to the mag-lock underbarrel rail. Very high-speed kit.
    He popped a pair of controls, and slid the gas cartridge from the weapon. Slipping the tube in his pocket, the smuggler then glanced at the IDs.

    The first was a operation license for a starfighter-class belonging to a 'Mikelya Lynsom' 18 years old, of Alderaan.
    The pleasure is all mine, I'm sure, Miss Lynsom... he thought dryly. Alderaan fit with her apparent ethnicity, and the biometrics seemed more or less on point to Rodrik.

    He flipped to the second ID.

    Mikelya Lynsom, Mentordyne Risk Control, Ltd. Apprentice Hunter... the smuggler groaned quietly, causing his head to pound in agony.

    Rodrik frowned. They had his attention now. MRC, Ltd. was a notable purveyor of private security and enforcement contracts in the region. Their mercs protected corporate bulk freighters and container ships in the sector, and their “retrievals” division was notably resourceful.

    They did not muck about. He glanced over at the prone, armored figure of the girl, briefly wishing he were capable of finishing her off. Rodrik shook his head, banishing the impulse, then grinned widely, his blue-gray eyes sparkling with the faint wisps of a plan.


    Several minutes later, the young smuggler exited the men's room as subtly as a concussed man with a bleeding scalp wound and wielding a hot-rodded sidearm can.

    The band, to their credit, only missed a couple beats before breaking back into the swing tune they had been meandering through previously.

    Avoiding the stares as best he could, Rodrik flipped the nonplussed bartender a twenty credit coin and slammed the ID on the bar in front of her.
    “Something fruity for the lady when she wakes up... and do give her my apologies for leaving so abruptly,” he said, smiling maniacally. Between the adrenaline and blows to the head, and the knowledge that he was an apparent a fugitive from justice, the Nolsterian was riding a delirious high.

    The Bothan barwoman smiled slyly, then bobbed her head in acknowledgment.

    Trying to ignore the pounding, searing pain in his skull, Rodrik slipped out the back door as best he could then trotted from the alleyway into the adjoining street.

    He punch-drunkenly jumped on board a rickshaw, which the smuggler directed to Docking Bay 31. He wanted to be sick, but guessed the middle-aged Duros would probably take umbrage at unauthorized redecoration of his rickshaw's upholstery.

    Regaining his composure somewhat, Rodrik queued up the datapad. He smiled despite himself, seeing the warrant for his arrest light up the display. It didn't even matter to him at this point... he had won this round, and life to fight another day.

    No one gets the best of Rodrik Vance... at least, not for very long.



    Interlude...

    Kely Lynsom cursed, moaned, cursed some more, then was sick into the dodgy looking mensroom waste canister.

    She less than daintily dabbed the bile from her chin, then used her hands to crawl unceremoniously up the ugly tiled wall until she was fully upright.
    That miserable criminal just... Eerrgh! She thought, vocalizing that final bit with full, primal fury.
    Popping her helmet back into position, Kely checked her carbine. The smuggler had removed the blaster gas canister and drained the power pack. She was going to get him, now if for no other reason than for the man's baldfaced cheek.

    The hunter exited the lavatory with a sullen pout (not that it was visible to any of the patrons of the bar), then made for the back door, without her acquisition.

    Just as Kely pushed the door free, she heard a shout from back over at the bar. The hunter turned to see the Bothan bartender waving an ID card. Her ID card.

    “Oh sweetie, you forgot something,” the alien woman shouted in a patronizing singsong.

    Kely walked to the bar as smoothly and calmly as she could manage, then snatched the card from the other's hand. The woman pushed a bottle of chemical red fizzy pop into her hand.
    “He wanted to buy you a drink, but age of consumption in this district is 19...” the Bothan drawled, clearly enjoying the experience.

    Now shaking with fury, Kely took the bottle, trying and failing to crush the glasscene in her gauntlet.

    “This isn't over...” she mumbled, then turned and marched out the door to a chorus of laughter.

    Part II


    Rodrik made it to the bay about twenty minutes later, feeling slightly better than he had when he left the bar. He still needed to empty his bladder, mind, but all things considered he was happy to be alive.

    He paid the the rickshaw driver and demounted the hover couch. The smuggler wandered inside the nondescript stone edifice that was just one of a dozen front-buildings for the Class D docking bays at Valorum Memorial Star Terminal. These buildings housed outfitters, cargo warehouses or hostels for visiting spacers, but also provided access to the artificial craters that housed and protected the landed vessels. Most of these had retractable transparasteel domes or heavy particle shields to protect machinery and organics alike from the particle storms that would occasionally blow in from outside the oasis of Guero and into the city and starport. Notably, Rodrik had chosen Docking Bay 31 because it did not. 31 and other bays like it were favored by couriers, smugglers, mercs and sundry free traders because such bays, with a weak particle shield or jury-rigged series of tarps, were better suited for an unscheduled exit, if necessary.

    The weather on Illguez was still making its rough transition from unbearably hot to freezing. The large red Illez I primary star had set at the bottom of the clock, but the blue dwarf Illez II still hung determinedly at mid-sky, giving the world around Rodrik a bluish tint and half-drowning out the pale green-half aspect of Illguez's Copper Moon, now at its apogee in the twilight sky.

    The late-night crowd stumbled back to their spacer's hostels, while stevedores and other laborers still milled in moderate numbers around the freight docks. Rodrik slipped in through the crowd to the interior of his hostelry. He suddenly became nauseous, having returned to the Corellian wavelength light provided by the glowlamp strips along the corners of the corridor ceiling.

    The smuggler steadied himself against the wall, then pressed forward. He needed something to take the edge off the occasional burst of vertigo and his splitting migraine.

    “You look like one of the less pleasant Hells.”

    Rodrik winced, “Had a run-in with some greenhorn bounty hunter in the pub. She clocked me pretty good. But thanks for noticing Vekha...”

    The young human mechanic grinned mischievously.
    “She?”

    “Yes... She. Teenage apprentice hunter, built like a voidballer,” Rodrik drawled back irritably. “She blindsided me in the gents' room and punched me in the stanging dome. Kinda cute, under the combat armor,” he added.

    “Should I be jealous, Captain Vance?” Vekha responded, with an insincere pout.

    Rodrik had known Vekh almost since he had come to the sector two years previously. And, it had to be said, their friendship had come to encompass certain benefits... The redheaded tech had a thick, grav-swimmer's build, but had a pleasant, kind face that laughed easily.
    The smuggler quickly returned to the present, then flashed a sheepish smile, causing his headache to flare.

    “No,” he coughed, “Not as yet, anyway...”
    She punched his arm playfully. Rodrik tried not to fall over.

    “Have you got a stocked medpac? I think I have a concussion,” he said, quickly and tactlessly changing the subject.


    The small hostel kitchen doubled as the infirmary, though most of the residents were polite enough not to dwell upon that fact.

    As Vekha stanched the bleeding on his head contusion and administered a stimm shot, Rodrik was left to wonder why it was that he could drink away his sharp sense for danger. Under normal circumstances, a creep in his stomach or tingle in the nape of his neck would have warned him away from the lavatory. He knew this fact, not just believed, but knew it, deep down to the cellular level.
    But then, you drink to escape all of that business, don't you? he thought, his internal voice taking a rather uncomfortable, judgmental tone.
    Once again, the smuggler unilaterally and bluntly changed the subject.

    “Is my bird ready to go?”

    His impromptu nurse stopped her ministrations, and her absentminded smile disappeared as well.
    “Yes. Cargo was unloaded a few hours ago, and Mr. Rorken is having the droids shift your new shipment right now,” Vekha replied icily.

    “Sorry...”

    “You shouldn't be flying with a head injury, Rodrik,” she interrupted him, “you need to get to a clinic. The Corellian Merchant's Guildhouse has a new FX-5... you're a Corellian subject, you have rights there...”

    “Vek, if that girl could find me in that pub, it won't take her long to figure out where I parked the Greenhawk,” he said, shaking his head. “She'll have come to by now... and I'm guessing she'll be pretty peeved at me.”

    “Why didn't you just... you know...”

    The smuggler sighed. He looked at himself in the small mirror Vek had been using to paste up his scalp. His skin was even paler than his usual pasty complexion, and the blood had matted the unruly brown hair around the wound.
    “I couldn't bring myself to do it... kill her, I mean,” Rodrik replied finally. “She was a baby...”

    “...Who was trying to drag your carcass to some backwater ore magnate who would flense you alive...” Vek finished for him. She bit her lower and shook her head, still uncomprehending.

    He shrugged. He couldn't tell her, couldn't explain...
    She lent down and kissed him on the temple.

    Just shut up, man.

    Rodrik smiled. Perhaps the day hadn't been a total loss.
    Last edited by Rostek; 18 February 2012 at 10:07 PM.
    I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor-- King George III
    "The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit." -- W. Somerset Maugham
    Check out Run to the Rim (NEW! Updated 1/24/08!)
    and
    Old Friends, New Republic (Updated 12/27/07)

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    Default Using a bit of my moderatory discretion and exchange/bumping to reflect changes...

    It's been a while, ha.

    Put up a blog post waxing nostalgic a bit and describing how this project came to be.

    So if you're reading, let me know! I'm curious about how the concept works; my own sense is biased by the fact I have something like a live action version of this playing in my head. That is the lot of the fiction writer, I think... so much uncertainty in translation.

    UPDATE: I decided to say "stang it" and just put up the first 2 1/2 parts. I will be putting another similarly sized piece up some time next week, I think.
    I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor-- King George III
    "The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit." -- W. Somerset Maugham
    Check out Run to the Rim (NEW! Updated 1/24/08!)
    and
    Old Friends, New Republic (Updated 12/27/07)

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    Wanna-be musician Fingon's Avatar
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    Default

    Read through it. I enjoyed it, though I would enjoy seeing more of the character. For the first installment, this was an interesting enough hook, but it left Rodrik without much personality.

    Is that a hint of force-sensitivity at the end? I liked it.

    There was a little bit of repetition (both humans were "athletic"), and I believe that it should be "nauseated" instead of "nauseous." The talk about makes and models of arms and armor; do you need it?

    I quite liked that you were more honest about violence than a lot of fiction. A punch to the face hurts and is going to hurt for some time. A stun blast can still kill you and will leave you feeling ill afterward.

    I'll be following it.
    Utulie'n aure! Aiya Eldalie ar Atanatari, utulie'n aure!

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    Thanks for the read and the commentary, Fingon. I'm experimenting with in media res a little bit, but hopefully the next couple segments will let on a little bit more about Rodrik the guy.

    I have taken your thoughts to heart-- and have updated the first segment.

    This stuff is super-raw, just goes right from Scrivener to the reply box sans editing, so I am definitely open to the possibility that I let my brain runneth over on a few things. The tech data, for example-- was more of an issue where I am trying to think (for me) what is going on, so I've broken that up through the narrative now. Works much better that way, I think. And, FYI "nauseous" is also an acceptable form in that usage, though "nauseated" is used more frequently; actually argued with an editor once about that. Had to get out a dictionary and prove him wrong and of course the graf was cut anyway.

    Next section in a few days, hopefully. I've got project deadlines creeping at the end of next week, but it is nice to work on this a bit to take the edge of stress off.
    I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor-- King George III
    "The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit." -- W. Somerset Maugham
    Check out Run to the Rim (NEW! Updated 1/24/08!)
    and
    Old Friends, New Republic (Updated 12/27/07)

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